1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Lean not Lite,
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This review is from: Brahms: The Symphonies (Audio CD)
On the basis of earlier recordings I rather rated Chailly as a perfectionist who tended to miss the wood for the trees. However, while I am still getting to know these new recordings, first impressions are that this set may be the up to date replacement for Jochum or Walter. (Like most modern conductors he keeps to a more rigid tempo than either of them.) Certainly, as an admirer of Walter's attack on the first movement of the Third, this is the first recording I have encountered which matches it. (Wand's recording of 3 and 4, recently re-released, is also fast in general but I found the recording or remastering disappointing on my equipment.) These new recordings sound outstanding if the playback level is adjusted carefully (turn it up a little above 'normal' and it is too in your face) and Chailly opens up the textures and lets the light in.
No.1 is fine and it is a relief after Jochum not to have the timps confusing the texture of the opening. In no. 2 the speeds are a touch faster than the fine performance by Haitink with the LSO but there is plenty of warmth and an exciting conclusion. The first 2 movements of no. 4 could possibly have a little more intensity here and there, but the third movement is charming and the last builds up to a formidable ending.
If you like your Brahms to be played like Barbirolli's Elgar you won't like this set. I do!